A network of persons involved in the application of systematic, quantitative analysis in support of planning and management in the health services sector.

The EURO Working Group on Operational Research Applied to Health Services was formed in 1975 as part of a programme for developing special interest groups within the European branch, EURO of the International Federation of Operational research Societies, IFORS.

The group has at present 242 members from more than 30 countries, mainly in Europe but also from overseas (USA, Canada, Brazil, ...). Membership is open to persons with an interest in applying systematic, quantitative analysis to planning and management problems in the health area.

What is Operational Research?

Operational Research (OR) is systematic, quantitative analysis in support of rational policy and decision making.

This umbrella concept of operational research covers many analytic approaches and methods, such as simulation modelling, mathematical programming, decision analysis, cost effectiveness analysis, development of indicators, and methods for forecasting, monitoring and evaluation.

Please visit also the EURO web pages.

Purposes of the Working Group

The objectives of the group are:

  • communication of ideas, knowledge and experience concerning the application of OR approaches and methods to problems in the health services area.
  • cooperation on the form of mutual assistance between members or on joint projects.
  • inspiration with regard to approaches and attitudes in the field of applied OR.

How to join

Just email the EWG coordinators (emails here) or visit this section of the website.

Yearly meetings in different European countries

The group meets every year, each summer, for one week in a different European host country. See the meetings section.

Meetings are open to anyone with a quantitative background and an interest in the subject area, although numbers may be restricted to ensure that open debate is practicable. During the meetings, papers are presented and discussed, computer applications demonstrated and decisions regarding group affairs prepared and taken.

Associated with the meetings, study tours to local healthcare facilities are arranged with opportunities to discuss planning and management problems with local health services mangers. A well developed social programme gives good opportunities for informal discussions and friendly get-togethers with members and accompanying families.

Papers presented at the meetings cover a range of different projects, approaches and methods. Studies at strategic, operational and tactical levels have included the planning of health services systems, resource allocation, investment analysis, manpower planning, admission planning, staff scheduling, performance measurement, quality assurance and the use of information systems to improve decision support. The proceedings of the meetings are often produced as a publication.

Other activities of the group

Besides the annual meetings, the Working Group also engages in different joint projects and activities. A newsletter is produced and distributed among the members, containing reports on meetings and other informal interests.

To facilitate contacts and cooperation, a register of members is kept, which gives addresses, telephone and fax numbers and also notes on research interests and relevant published work.

Last meetings statistics

Year Place Participants Countries Papers
2021 Halifax (CA)
2020 Wien (AT)
2019 Karlsruhe (DE) 137 23 93
2018 Oslo (NO) 147 26 112
2017 Bath (GB) 146 25 110
2016 Pamplona (ES) 140 25 113
2015 Montréal (CA) 94 20 75
2014 Lisbon (PT) 143 24 101
2013 Istanbul (TR) 139 28 96
2012 Enschede (NL) 149 22 100
2011 Cardiff (GB) 118 19 98
2010 Genova (IT) 153 23 115
2009 Leuven (BE) 135 22 107
2008 Toronto (CA) 160 18 97
2007 Saint-Etienne (FR) 150 21 119


Period Participants Countries Papers
1975-1984 26 10 17
1985-1994 31 11 21
1995-2004 38 14 30
2004-2009 111 18 84